"Only She Who Attempts the Absurd will Achieve the Impossible"

At fifteen years of age Abby broke out onto the international athletic scene, appearing at the 1962 Commonwealth games in Perth, Western Australia. Abby was a middle distance runner however she finished last in the 880 yard run. This undoubtedly gave her the motivation she needed to become a successful endurance runner. The next year Abby won gold in the 1963 Pan-American Games.

In the following years she captured the national 800m title eight times and held the national records in the 800m from 1962-75. Abby represented Canada in four Olympic Games, four Pan-Am Games, two Commonwealth Games, three 3 FISU World 91University Games and the 1969 Maccabiah Games (1) (see the list to the right for her achievements in these competitions.) Abby's active athletic career is one of Canada's longest and most distinguished.

Culturally women were viewed as lesser athletes and were not given "an equal portion of the athletic pie in terms of facilities, resources, coaching and sponsorship." (2) This inequity did not go unnoticed by the young runner, not only did she face opposition when she was a child playing hockey in a boys league, but she faced a running hurdle. In 1966, as a women, she was refused the privilege of running on the only indoor track in Ontario. The University of Toronto's Hart House, which was an all-male facility was opened to women because of Abby's efforts. There is now a plaque that bears the quote
"Only she who attempts the absurd will achieve the impossible." (1)
Abby Hoffman was by nature, an activist, she fought for the rights of athletes, of female athletes and against racial inequity in the Olympics. Her efforts were not overlooked, and changes were taking place. This was evident in the 1976 Summer Olympic Games held in Montreal, Canada; Abby became the first women to bear the Canadian flag, leading the Canadian team into Montreal's Olympic Stadium during opening ceremonies (see photo from in the following post.)

1. www.cshof.ca/accessible/hm_profile.php?i=461
2. The Girl and the Game: A history of women's sport in Canada by M. Ann Hall
2. Photo: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/

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